Ford pre-launch vehicles pushed to the limit on test track which replicates the worst surfaces from all over the world.
Test cars thrashed at 50mph over wretched terrain
Ford has created a pothole ridden, 1.2 mile, torture track at The Lommel Proving Ground in Belgium to ensure its vehicles cope with poor surfaces, the manufacturer said. The track – which is part of a 50 mile facility – simulates the type of potholes common in Europe and US, plus more than 100 other “hazards” from 25 counties.
The torture track features the granite blocks popular in Belgium and French cobbles, etc. The testers race through at up to 50mph and sensors - similar to those required by seismologists to study earthquakes - record the loads and strain on the suspension system.
Lommel Proving Ground Durability Technical Specialist, Eric-Jan Scharlee, explained: “From a rutted traffic junction in China to a bumpy German side-street, this road is a rogues gallery of the most bruising surfaces that our customers might encounter.”
He added: “By incorporating these real-world hazards into our test facilities, we can develop vehicles equipped to deal with these challenging conditions.”
Mr Scharlee concluded: “Analysing data inputs during vehicle testing has enabled Ford to develop a range of advanced driver aids and design modifications to help continually improve the safety and robustness of our vehicles.”
Potholes cause thousands of breakdowns
Ford claimed that the RAC responded to 25,000, pothole related, breakdowns throughout 2015. This represented a rise of 25% compared to the previous year. The motor manufacturer confirmed that striking a pothole can damage a car's tyres, wheels and suspension.
Safety systems help motorists cope with poor roads
Ford said its: “Obsession with making sure its cars can withstand the world’s worst roads has driven innovation”. It highlighted the Continuous Control Damping with Pothole Mitigation technology, for example. This system recognises that a wheel has fallen into a pothole, then adjusts the suspension to minimise the risk of damage.
Ford further emphasised that some of its vehicles have a Tyre Pressure Monitoring system that alerts motorists to punctures.
Furthermore, Electronic Stability Control makes it easier to maintain control when manoeuvring sharply/suddenly to miss hazards.
About Ford in the UK
Ford produces a wide variety of vehicles. Highlights include the Ka (city class) Fiesta (supermini), Focus (small family), Mondeo (large family), Kuga and Edge (sports utility vehicles), Galaxy (people carrier) and the Mustang (sports coupé and convertible).
Ford is also the best selling car brand in the UK. In 2015, 335,267 found homes which equated to 12.37% market share. The Fiesta was its best seller – and the nation's best seller – so 133,434 were registered. The Focus was the country's third best seller (83,816).